Monday, July 18, 2011

Borders To Shut Down By Sept. 30

The Wall Street Journal published Borders Group Inc. has scrapped the bankruptcy-court auction scheduled for tomorrow.  Liquidation of operating stores will begin as early as Friday; the company is expected to go out of business by the end of September.

Longtime readers know I'm a loyal Borders customer.  It is one of my favorite retail chains; I spend as many as six days a week writing at my local store.  It is where I purchase books.  Thanks to the Rewards Plus program, I have been able to host many giveaways on this site.  And, Borders is where I've had the pleasure of meeting a number of people - managers, employees, and fellow customers, who in some way, shape, or form, became part of my writing journey.

I can't say the news is surprising.  The company has struggled for months; customers, who were already dwindling in volume, became apprehensive once the Chapter 11 news went public.  A number of popular new releases are not carried in stores.  Coupons were sent less frequently.  And the Borders/Seattle's Best partnership was terminated earlier this summer.

Having written over 100,000 words in a Borders location, it's obvious I dreamed my launch party/first signing would be held there.  I imagined the staff that rooted me on for years would be part of that experience - that I could give back to a store that gave me so much.  Borders became my haven when I lost my job.  It provided a friendly atmosphere where I could work.  It also provided a much needed escape from what I like to call unemployment-induced cabin fever; it gave me a place to go.  The Baristas and regulars became my newest social network.  They offered support and accountability.

As saddened as I was to learn this news (less than an hour ago), I was more saddened to read this statement towards the end of the WSJ article:

The loss of Borders may also make it more difficult for new writers to be discovered. "The liquidation of Borders is an irreplaceable loss of a big part of the book-discovery ecosystem," said Michael Norris, a senior analyst at Simba Information, a unit of MarketResearch.com "Thousands of people whose job consisted of talking up and selling books will eventually being doing something else, and that's bad for authors, agents, and everyone associated with the value chain in books."

Since I jumped on board, the writing community has discussed the future of bookstores and publishing industry in our advancing world.  Although the above statement is not fact, it is a perspective I find worth discussing.

So, fellow readers, what are your thoughts on the demise of Borders?  Will it have an impact on the future of publication?  Will it hinder the discovery of new authors?

13 comments:

  1. I don't think it will hinder the discovery of new authors as there dozens of other ways to find out. However, it is a loss in a huge way for authors and readers to come together. It makes me sad beyond words that even here in Chicago now there is no place near me to purchase physical books unless it's at a grocery store or at one of the collar suburb Wal-marts, Targets and Meijer stores. And we all know the limited selection there. I have to now take a bus to go all the way into the Loop to go to the single remaining Barnes & Noble.

    As for publication, it will certainly put a dint in the sales of hardbacks and paperbacks. Most people purchase books in electronic form through companies like Amazon. With the loss of a giant chain like Borders, I think it's going to make it that much more difficult to own physical books. Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was only a matter of time, so no surprise. And I agree with Melissa - it won't hinder the discovery. People will find new authors online. I admit I haven't visited hardly any bookstores in the past couple years. I get my books online, through my science fiction book club, and now on my iPad. It's sad, but hopefully the small independents survive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm completely disheartened to hear about Borders closing. As nice as technology has been for readers and writers, the smell and feel of a book seems to be fading away like vinyl and cassette tapes.
    I suppose change is inevitable, but it saddens me nonetheless :(
    Nina

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am saddened by the Borders closing,a different format is replacing it. Sure the physical books and the "place to go" were nice, but there is not enough support to keep Borders open.
    Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wonder if the WSJ hacked that guy's phone to get that quote. Sorry. I digress.

    One mistake they made was partnering with Seattle's Best. Being from Seattle, I can tell that it's not the best of anything.

    All kidding aside, this is really sad. The people who worked at Borders were the coolest people.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hope it doesn't make things harder for new authors, but only time will tell. I think we have to be ready for the possibility of all brick and mortar stores to close. The business is changing, as they all do, and anyone who wants to be in it has to adapt. It's already tough, and it's going to get tougher, but those of us who plan to stay all in no matter what will find a way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's always sad when a good book shop closes down.

    Thank you very much for your well wishes while I was sick!
    Duncan In Kuantan

    ReplyDelete
  8. Melissa - thanks so much for your detailed comment. I can relate, because my Borders is closing in a major shopping center, and it is the only bookstore within fifteen minutes on either side of town. I like having options, and right now, I don't have many. I also think it shows the demand for physical books is changing. My guess is Indie bookstores will survive a bit longer, but the chains will really struggle as we continue to go electronic.

    Alex - I think Indie stores will be okay. My Borders would have been fine if they weren't a Borders because they still profit. I think in certain areas, bookstores will be successful....for now...

    Anthony - you are right; it is an entirely differnet format that is replacing it, and it's not even close to the same thing in my opinion. I'd hate to only be able to buy books online if the stores keep closing. I like to browse.

    Michele - You have the right attitude; change is inevitable and we should prepare for it. It's just a shame to see something so important to so many people slowly being removed from society. You can't get the atmosphere electronically. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the industry in a few months. As you said, time will tell.

    Duncan - Of course. I'm glad to see you back and feeling better.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's just so sad. Truly. So much loss. It has been coming for awhile, but it doesn't make it any less awful. :(

    I hope you find a new writing home soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think the discovery of new writers will move from places like Borders and other book stores, to, well, THIS. What I'm typing on, looking at, and spending time using. The computer. Blogs, online book stores, and online publications will replace the book store as the place where one discovers a new author, or a new fantastic book. Is this good? Depends on who you ask. Personally, I will miss the physical book store because of the mere smell that I love so much: new books. I just went to amazon and sniffed my monitor--not the same!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looks like we're thinking along the same lines. I guess great minds think alike;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Paul. That guy doesn't know what he's talking about! The new way to sell books is going to be online...blogging, facebook, whatever, and especially the launching of those books. I have been kicking and screaming about the future demise of paper books, too, but it's obvious it will happen and everyone will be reading e-books at some point. Part of me is sad to hear Borders closed, but maybe that will help the small independent book stores...at least for a while?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, I just read Michael's above about the aroma of books! That is me! And I laughed out loud at the monitor comment! :D

    ReplyDelete

Feeling kind? Leave me some love.
(Sorry to bring back the word verification. Just couldn't take the spam anymore.)